Study Finds Creatine Improves Health and Increases Lifespan in Mice
Recently, in the Integrated Supplements Blog, we’ve commented on how valuable lifespan studies can be for those of us looking to make truly healthy lifestyle choices. Lifespan studies examine the effects of certain interventions over the entire lifespan of the test animal – which gives a far more accurate indication of long–term effectiveness and safety rather than simply looking at biological markers in the short–term.
We’ve seen previously, how substances which support the production of beneficial intestinal bacteria (like certain soluble fibers), or substances which reduce the toxic burden of “bad” intestinal bacteria (like activated charcoal), have both been associated with an increase in lifespan:
Now, it seems that we can add another entry to the list of dietary/supplemental substances which may be able to increase healthy lifespan. Surprisingly to many, this substance is creatine monohydrate.
Researchers from Germany recently tested the effects of creatine given to one year old female mice. The average lifespan of the mice given creatine increased by 9%, and the creatine–supplemented mice also exhibited inproved performance in neurobehavioral/learning tests. Researchers also found a trend toward a reduced level of reactive oxygen species as well as a significant reduction in the fatty age–pigment, lipofuscin (lipofuscin can be noticed on the skin in the form of unsightly “age spots” or “liver spots,” but its presence in all tissues, including the brain, is a clear marker of the degeneration of aging).
Quote from the above study:
The median healthy life span of Cr–fed mice was 9% higher than in control mice, and they performed significantly better in neurobehavioral tests. In brains of Cr–treated mice, there was a trend towards a reduction of reactive oxygen species and significantly lower accumulation of the "aging pigment" lipofuscin. Expression profiling showed an upregulation of genes implicated in neuronal growth, neuroprotection, and learning. These data show that Cr improves health and longevity in mice. Cr may be a promising food supplement to promote healthy human aging.
Creatine – Not Just For Muscles
Long–known as an aid to muscle building and strength gains, creatine has also been investigated for the benefits it may offer in regards to nerological and overall health. The researchers who conducted the above study were prompted to do so by the promising outcomes achieved when creatine was studied in relation to the brain–disorders, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. It is now certain that creatine plays an integral role in the rapid recycling of cellular energy (in the form of ATP), not only in our muscles, but in various tissues of the body, including the brain and neurological system.
As we’ve covered in the Integrated Supplements Newsletters on oxidative stress, the more efficiently our cells produce energy, the fewer harmful free radicals will be produced. On a fundamental level, any viable anti–aging strategy must involve the means to reduce the cumulative burden of oxidative stress – and creatine appears to do just that.
Because creatine is involved in a process which allows the cells to rapidly and efficiently produce energy - without engaging the full cellular machinery involved in producing energy from carbohydrates or fats, creatine is likely to be a major weapon in the fight against oxidative stress and aging.
This study, and others, make it clear that creatine supplementation is likely to have “brain–building” as well as muscle–building effects – not only to delay aging, but even to boost mental function and intelligence as well.
At Integrated Supplements, we’ll have more of the amazing “outside–the–box” creatine research coming your way soon – stay tuned.